Almost 75% of new global PV installations were made in Europe in 2009
Europe remained one of the most promising markets for solar energy, as 5.8 GW of the 7.4 GW of newly installed photovoltaic systems globally, were installed in that region in 2009 according to the European Commission Joint Research Center reported.
Europe also accounted for 16 GW, or 70%, of the world’s 22 GW total installed photovoltaic capacity, which consists of existing and newly installed solar facilities. One GW of photovoltaic capacity can provide enough electricity for about 250,000 European households during one year.
Germany led the European nations with 3.8 GW of new solar capacity and 9.8 GW of cumulative capacity, of which 2.3 GW were linked to the power grid by the fourth quarter of last year. Italy ranked second in terms of new installed capacity with 0.73 GW, while Spain was second in terms of cumulative installed capacity with 3.5 GW.
However, the European photovoltaic market is still in its infancy stage. The commission estimated that only 0.4% of the total supplied electricity in the European Union came from photovoltaic power in 2009 – representing a mere 0.1% in the world’s total supplied electricity.
Meanwhile, the global production of photovoltaic cells increased by 56% to 11.5 GW in 2009. Europe still trailed behind global leader China, with 2 GW and 4.4 GW respectively. Taiwan landed in the third spot with 1.6 GW, followed by Malaysia with 0.72 GW.
Despite a significant number of global players reducing or cancelling their plans to expand photovoltaic production, the global photovoltaic industry still saw new entrants in the field, including large semiconductor or energy-related companies.
The industry also saw the market shift from a supply- to a demand-driven logic, which, coupled with the overcapacity for solar modules, pushed down prices by almost 50 percent over the past two years, resulting in an average selling price of less than 1.5 euros ($1.9) per watt.
The study also finds that wafer-based silicon still reigned as the main technology for solar cells, capturing 80% of the market share in 2009, whereas thin-film solar products expanded their market share to up to 20%.
- Three-quarters of new solar systems worldwide were installed in the EU in 2009 (eurekalert.org)
- Three-quarters of new solar systems worldwide were installed in the EU in 2009: report (physorg.com)
- JA Solar sets solar cell deals, shares jump (reuters.com)